Saturday, January 31, 2015

Ark of the Covenant is more than Melting Nazis

Today's Reading: Exodus 25-26 and Matthew 20:17-34

Is it just me, or do you experience this too? When I hear the words "ark of the covenant," I picture melting zombies from the movie Raiders of the Lost Ark (Indiana Jones):

It's a great scene but obviously fiction. In reality, the ark of the covenant held the stone tablets with the 10 commandments. The Israelites kept the ark in the tabernacle, which was a tent that was set up in the middle of their camp. It's where God resided because he always wanted to live among His people.

The ark of the covenant is actually the beginning of the Bible's formation. Moses wrote scrolls which were kept with the ark and those documents would eventually be included in what we now call the "Old Testament."

It may seem strange that God was so specific about the dimensions of the tabernacle and the ark but it's for good reason: God wanted the Israelites to pay close attention, and every detail is symbolic of a bigger truth.

The artist over at made some really clever cut-outs of tabernacle furnishings so you can carefully construct you own.  :-D

And finally, if you have a couple minutes, here's that Raiders of the Lost Ark scene:

Friday, January 30, 2015

How does Moses Make His Coffee?

Today's Reading: Exodus 23-24 and Matthew 20:1-16

We're almost at the end of the first month of our reading plan. How is it coming along? Is the amount of reading each day good for you? Never forget to give yourself grace when it comes to a Bible Reading Plan (because the goal isn't checking off boxes, the goal is spending time with God).

We're just getting started with the artistic content. Especially as we get further into the New Testament, we have some incredible works of art lined up. But for today, something silly:

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Camel through the Eye of a Needle

Today's Reading: Exodus 21-22 and Matthew 19

There are some myths out there about Matthew 19:24 and the camel going through the eye of the needle. Maybe you have heard that the 'eye of the needle' was a hole in the city wall, and that a camel would have to stoop down to get through. Or maybe you have heard that the 'eye of the needle' was a certain pass between mountains.

But I believe the truth is much simpler. It's absurd to try to get a camel through the eye of a needle. It's a silly mental image that effectively communicates the impossibility of the idea.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The 10 Commandments

Today's Reading: Exodus 19-20 and Matthew 18:21-35

The 10 Commandments were a blueprint for a new society (after all, the Israelite people were pretty aimless at this point). Some are about our relationship with God, others are about our relationship with others, but all are about living life to the full.

Dan Stevers - The Ten Commandments from on Vimeo.

Who is the most evil man who ever lived? Moses because he broke all 10 commandments at once. (I couldn't resist sharing that.)

The image above was made by an artist on deviantart and can be found here


If you want your fix of Charlton Heston then here's a clip from the classic movie The Ten Commandments.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Quail out your Nostrils

Today's Reading: Exodus 16-18 and Matthew 18:1-20

So the wandering Israelite people get free food (manna). It tastes like candy. Seriously. They do the only logical thing which is to start whining about all God is not giving them. Wait, what?

It would be easy to judge them except don't you and I find ourselves treating God the same way? We're not content with all the provisions He has given us. We scramble to get back into slavery. Thankfully God knows how to guide us.

The song above is by the late singer Keith Green. It's an oldy but goody, and I love his passion for evangelism. I sometimes share a story I heard about Keith Green...

Keith was about to play a large stadium and the announcer was getting the crowd warmed up. The announcer said, "Everyone give it up for Jesus!" And everyone applauded. Then the announcer said, "And give it up for Keith Green." and the crowd went wild. Keith Green came out and said, "You just cheered louder for me than your Lord and Savior." He walked off and didn't play the show that night.

He died at the age of 29 in a tragic plane crash. The world needs more believers like Keith Green. I'm going to be reading a biography on him soon to find out more stories about his short-lived but faithful life.


Audio Adrenaline wrote a song about Matthew 18:12-14 called Leaving 99

You never know what strange songs you're going to come across when you're surfing youtube. This song uses the Exodus text as its lyrics. It's odd.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Crossing the Red Sea

Today's Reading: Exodus 14-15 and Matthew 17

We all want big Blockbuster miracles but nobody wants the circumstances that require such a miracle. Can you imagine being an Israelite on the run, with Egyptian soldiers nipping at your heals?

I've read many authors who try to explain this Red Sea miracle in alternate ways (like the river could have been especially low this time of year). Sigh. But then the miracle would be the fact that so many Egyptians got caught and drowned in such dry conditions. Just saying.

This song by Petra is super-dated but meh, still a good one if you're into rock from a couple decades ago.

The image below is from The Prince of Egypt movie.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

God Provides the Passover Lamb

Today's Reading: Exodus 12-13 and Matthew 16
God designed all of history to point to the person of Jesus. In Exodus 12 we explore a concept (the Passover Lamb) that will be fully realized on the cross. Passover gets its name from death 'passing over' those who have been redeemed.

The clip below helps me appreciate the truth of Matthew 16 all the more:


If you're not tired of Kevin Ohlin's art then visit his site again for two more illustrations. He made illustrations for Exodus 12:7 and 13:21.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Pharaoh and the Ten Plagues

Today's Reading: Exodus 9-11 and Matthew 15:21-39

Did God harden Pharaoh's heart? Yes, God played a very active role in how this situation played out. Did Pharaoh harden his own heart? Yes, Pharaoh was dead set against obeying what God asked. Ten plagues or ten thousand, perhaps the result would have been the same.

The Ten Plagues from Dave Lassanske on Vimeo.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Saying the Same Thing 10 Ways

Today's Reading: Exodus 7-8 and Matthew 15:1-20

The plagues seem arbitrary and strange until we realize that each plague correlates with an Egyptian god. In other words, God is working up the hierarchy of the Egyptian gods, showing that His strength is greater because His strength is real.
This simple graphic is by Kevin Ohlin:

Here's another overview of the Exodus, in an artistic whiteboard form:

Whiteboard Bible 3 - The Exodus from World Outreach Church on Vimeo.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Jesus the Water-Walker

Today's Reading: Exodus 4-6 and Matthew 14:22-36

Peter started to sink when he took his eyes off of Jesus. There was no one he loved and trusted more than Jesus but the storms of life can distract us, and pull our gaze away. Here's a creative dance depicting Peter's journey:

Elevation Creative: Peter Walking On Water from Elevation Media on Vimeo.

Hillsong United shares a worship song inspired by this passage:


Here is a movie clip showing Jesus walk on water.

Back in the 90's there was a worship band called Audio Adrenaline. This video shows one of their songs, 'Walk on Water.'

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Moses and the Burning Bush

Today's Reading: Exodus 1-3 and Matthew 14:1-21

If you ever played World of Warcraft then you'll appreciate this cartoon from Penny Arcade. God had a quest for Moses. Would he accept?

I'm linking back to The Bible Project one last time for their overview of Exodus 1-18.

There was a fantastic miniseries that appeared online in 2013 called The Bible. Here is a video of Moses and the burning bush from that series.

Kevin Ohlin creates vector illustrations for verses throughout Scripture. His art can be found here and includes a great image for Exodus 3:2.

By the way, what I love most about the burning bush text is that Moses uses every category of excuse. When I think of all the ways I try to squirm out of things, it always comes back to one of these 5:
      1. I'm not qualified
      2. I'm not smart enough
      3. I'm not strong enough
      4. Someone else could do it better
      5. I'm scared/ I don't want to do this

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

From Asher to Zebulun, Sons and Seeds

Today's Reading: Genesis 49-50 and Matthew 13:31-58

When Jesus spoke of mustard seeds, his original audience knew exactly what he meant. They had seen mustard plants on the side of the road. The smallest child could tell you the size of that seed. I, on the other hand, need a visual:


I recommend a site called Visual Unit for Bible-related infographics. I'm not going to directly post any of their art because I don't want to violate copyright, but they have a great Sons of Jacob infographic that fits our Genesis passage for today.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Farming the Four Soils

Today's Reading: Genesis 46-48 and Matthew 13:1-30

Interested to hear what a farmer thinks about the four soils? I love the interview at the start of this clip, and how much wisdom comes out of this farming metaphor.

The video below is a dramatic reading of the text in Matthew:

Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Unforgivable Sin

Today's Reading: Genesis 43-45 and Matthew 12:24-50

WARNING: The video below is one of the most disturbing clips I could ever post. No, it doesn't contain gore or sex. It contains something far worse: an individual challenging people to blaspheme the Holy Spirit.

This blog's Artist Bible Plan is meant to celebrate the ways Scripture has inspired media. It's odd to share a video that goes against Christianity, yet perhaps this will inspire us to keep getting out there to share grace-filled truth.

The person who made this blasphemy challenge was responding to Matthew 12:31 and Mark 3:29, which state that the only unforgivable sin is to blaspheme the Holy Spirit.

By the way, I believe to 'blaspheme the Holy Spirit' you have to understand who the Holy Spirit is, and knowingly turn your back on Him. I had a friend who grew up a Satanist, with a Book of Satan on his bookshelf and an intense hatred for all organized religion. Then, one day, he met a Christian who didn't fit into his box, and he heard the Gospel message for what was essentially the first time in his life. He became a Christian.

I share that to highlight the fact that our faith, or our lack of faith, is not some misguided incantation of words. There are kids taking the 'blasphemy challenge' who don't understand what they're claiming to reject. Instead, the substance of our faith depends on how we've responded to God's Revealed Self. When we look at Creation, do we believe there is a Creator? When we hear about Jesus, do we yearn to have personal experience with a Savior like that? When we experience the Holy Spirit, do we turn our back on Him?

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Doing Nothing For God

Today's Reading: Genesis 41-42 and Matthew 12:1-23

Very few of us take a proper Sabbath. I'm constantly guilty of this: I fill my free time with more needless activity. I feel proud of myself when I consciously spend a tiny sliver of my day with God.

But what if we took God's encouragement about Sabbath seriously? What if we put aside an entire day to re-center ourselves in His plan? I think we'd find that life is more fulfilling than we ever imagined possible.

Today let's plan when we're going to take our next Sabbath rest...

Friday, January 16, 2015

Following God May End Badly

Today's Reading: Genesis 39-40 and Matthew 11

I've tried to keep sermon clips to a minimum for this reading plan BUT this clip from Matt Chandler is just too good. I love his preaching style and he does a great job here at giving us a fresh look at the text. Below that, I've linked to a song that connects to our Genesis passage. Enjoy.


Here is the song Go Go Joseph from the musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (with Donny Osmond).

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Joseph and the Multi-Colored Coat

Today's Reading: Genesis 36-38 and Matthew 10:21-42
The story of Joseph is a story of redemption:

Joseph and the Gospel of Many Colors: Reading an Old Story in a New Way from Crossway on Vimeo.

Below you'll find a catchy song from the musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat:

But here is my favorite version of the song, by punk band The Toy Dolls:

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Power of Forgiveness

Today's Reading: Genesis 33-35 and Matthew 10:1-20
Today we read of when Esau offered incredible forgiveness. I'm going to call this next video "found art" because I think it expresses the power of forgiveness in a haunting, powerful way. Gary Ridgeway is the Green River serial killer and in this clip we see him forgiven.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Jacob Wrestling the Angel

Today's Reading: Genesis 31-32 and Matthew 9:18-38

Wrestling with God? Yeps. We can't help ourselves. Whether we're talking Jacob the man, Israel the nation, or God's people in every nation, the truth remains the same: our approach to God is very push and pull.

Thankfully, God loves us even though we wrestle with Him. God loves us enough to give us a new name and a new identity.

The above artwork is by Gustave Doré, who also created famous etchings for The Divine Comedy and The Raven, among others. Last year I read a book by Walter Moers that took book etchings of Doré and created an entirely new story to re-appropriate the art. Good fun.


Are you curious how many other people are interested in Bible Reading Plans? This blog post at the site charts the numbers. The charts are comical; in January and August there are ridiculously big spikes.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Jacob, Rachel, and the Paralytic

Today's Reading: Genesis 29-30 and Matthew 9:1-17

For the Old Testament passage I'm going to post a song by one of my favorite bands, The Mountain Goats. The singer isn't Christian AND YET he felt so inspired by the Bible that he wrote an entire album's worth of song based on various verses. The below song is for Genesis 30:3


For the New Testament passage I'll show a clip from the movie Son of God. Last year was a big year for Bible-inspired movies. Some were good and some were not-so-good. Isn't it exciting, though, to see God featured in our movie theaters? Below you'll see Jesus healing a paralytic man. 


Sunday, January 11, 2015

Jacob's Ladder

Today's Reading: Genesis 27-28 and Matthew 8: 18-34

When I was young my family used to visit a place called Old Sturbridge Village, where they re-created a rural New England town from the 1830's. The "residents" of the village stayed in character, sharing openly about their homes or shops. It was a great experience.

One of the toys I still have from that village is a Jacob's Ladder. Have you seen these before? I love that a passage of Scripture inspired the name of a children's toy.

Toys may not be 'art' in the traditional sense of the word but this Artists Reading Plan is all about finding ways that the Bible has inspired people creatively. By seeing so many examples of the Bible's influence, I hope you will feel even more excited to keep reading and seeking God.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

The Danger of Lepers

Today's Reading: Genesis 25-26 and Matthew 8:1-17

I debated whether to post a video of modern lepers to give us a sense of what the Matthew passage is talking about. Instead, here's a powerful lesson done by Jeffrey Meinz, a youth leader at Holy Cross Lutheran Church:

Friday, January 9, 2015

Seeking and Finding

Today's Reading: Genesis 23-24 and Matthew 7

Sometimes we don't find something until we look for it. That sounds so obvious, yet think of all the times you felt stressed and never turned to God to ask for His guidance. I'm guilty of that all the time.

Be encouraged today that God wants you to turn to Him when things get tough.

We Are Seeking from Biltmore Baptist Church on Vimeo.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

The Lord's Prayer

Today's Reading: Genesis 20-22 and Matthew 6:19-34
We're a week into the reading program. Are you still on track? Give yourself grace -- if you miss a day then just pick up wherever you can. The important thing is that you stay encouraged about spending time with God.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Sodom and Gomorrah

Today's Reading: Genesis 18-19 and Matthew 6:1-18

The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah show that God will judge against sin. I am always amazed at the depth of God's justice toward those who reject Him, and the depth of His love for those who embrace Him.

The infographic above was put together by Peter Hui. I wasn't surprised to find his graphics spread all over pinterest.

My brother and his partner bought us this salt and pepper shaker set for Christmas. It's Lot and Lot's Wife. We love it!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Sermon on the Mount

Today's Reading: Genesis 16-17 and Matthew 5:27-48
Ever wonder what it would have been like to hear the Sermon on the Mount firsthand? The following video was put together by Bibledex, which, by the way, is one of the best online series covering every book of the Bible.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Be the Light

Today's Reading: Genesis 13-15 and Matthew 5:1-26
Abram was at the very start of monotheism, when he responded to the one true God. Abram became a light to his ancient world and now we are called to be a light to ours. Here is a stylized interpretation of Matthew 5:13-16 from an artist Dan Stevers, who we will see several mores times before the end of the year.

Light of the World from on Vimeo.


If you want an overview of the rest of Genesis then check out this next video by The Bible Project.

Here's another graphic design by Kevin Ohlin.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Tower of Babel

Today's Reading: Genesis 10-12 and Matthew 4
I'm a language nerd so Babel has always fascinated me -- does it mean we'll revert to a single language when in Heaven? Or will we simply understand one another like everyone could during Pentecost? Either way, the heart of the this story is that humankind had forgotten God. Pride puffs us up and makes us think we don't need Him in our lives. With that in mind, confusing our language was an incredibly loving thing for God to do.

The above song (Babel by Mumford & Sons) was inspired by the Tower of Babel.

'Chuck Knows Church' is a fantastic Methodist series that covers a huge range of passages and topics. Check it out at


This blog post mentions that John MacArthur found Genesis 10 to be one of the most difficult passages he has ever had to preach.

This piece is by Amy Hardy

This piece is by Pieter Bruegel

Saturday, January 3, 2015


Today's Reading: Genesis 7-9 and Matthew 3
Today's Genesis reading covers the story of Noah and the flood. Praise God for His promise to never send a flood like that again!

Above is a clever concept -- the artists put together "satellite photos" of important biblical events. The project is called God's Eye View by the Glue Society.

The above image is from Kevin Ohlin, who has made images like this for verses throughout the Bible. More of his biblical art can be found on his website.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Cain, Able, and Noah

Today's Reading: Genesis 4-6 and Matthew 2
Let's admit it, the Bible can be intimidating for most of us. It's a long book with plenty of names and information. These guys (at The Bible Project) help to take away the intimidation factor and show us why the Bible is so incredible. Their videos are artistic, accessible, and I highly recommend them. Check it out:

Is there a part of the Bible that you wish you understood better? For example, this year I would love to gain a deeper understanding of the Minor Prophets section of the Bible.


Can you handle more sand art? Here's a video inspired by Matthew 2.

The band ApologetiX takes popular songs and changes the lyrics to reflect Scripture. Here is a song that changes the lyrics of the song Hotel California (which is a little dated, sure, but still a great song).

Thursday, January 1, 2015

In the beginning...

Today's Reading: Genesis 1-3 and Matthew 1

Here we are at the beginning of the Bible:

In the Beginning from Digital Bible Society on Vimeo.

God is the ultimate artist. As we begin this 'Artists Reading Plan' it seems appropriate to turn back to those first moments of the universe, when God breathed everything into existence and showed us what creativity is all about. Why would God choose to create the cosmos? Because it brings Him glory, and He wanted to be in relationship with humankind.

What in the first few pages of the Bible inspires you?